Candidates for the 2017 Board of Directors

Only active members can vote for the 2017 Board of Directors. Voting opens December 2nd and closes December 23rd. Check your inbox for the ballot link.


International Director

Vince Conrad

Vince is a 25-year member of the Canadian fire service currently works for a large composite department. Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency has 50 stations and about 900 members.

Throughout his career he has spent ten years as a firefighter, five as a captain, and ten as a training officer. Currently he serves as an Acting Divisional Commander (Battalion Chief) where he specializes in training new recruits and developing e-learning platforms.

Benjamin Walker

Highly experienced international Fire Officer, Training Instructor, published author and Tactical Firefighting SME seeking opportunity to contribute to a dynamic and forward thinking fire & rescue service or training organization. Immigrating to the US on an EB1 visa as a person of outstanding ability within the fire rescue industry.

Shawn Sweeney

Shawn’s background as a Fire Service Instructor in Ontario, Canada includes having served as a FDI III in a large career department, and currently in a growing sub-urban composite department where he started in his FSI I role as a volunteer training officer 15 plus years ago. During his service his focus has been to improve and increase both his departments and other area departments training programming and to foster collaborative opportunities to benefit those involved.

Shawn has worked/instructed federally with special teams (USAR & CBRNE), and currently provincially instruct as an associate at the Ontario Fire College. Provincially he has evaluated candidates as a NFPA 1006 lead evaluator with the Ontario Fire Marshal and Emergency Management’s (OFMEM) Academic Standards and Evaluations Group. At the county level he is an active senior and training working group member with a CBRN team. Locally Shawn instructs in a training collaborative which includes two other fire departments partnered in firefighting, modern fire behavior, and technical specialty programming including rapid intervention crew member development. Shawn has served on the Simcoe County Fire Chiefs Administrative Group board of directors, and also currently as an active member of the following groups; Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (OAFC committee work), Ontario Association of Fire Training Officers, and lastly a Fire Service advisory committee member for the Georgian College Pre-Fire Service programs.

Jason Arns

Jason Arns is a Training Captain with the Chatham-Kent Fire and Emergency Services in Ontario. He is also an Officer and Training Officer with the Point Edward Volunteer Fire Department. He joined Chatham-Kent Fire and Emergency Services after spending several years as Program Coordinator for Pre-Service Firefighter and Fire Science programs at Lambton Fire College. He started out his career in Calgary Fire Department where he attained the rank of Hazardous Materials Officer, A/ Hazardous Materials Coordinator.

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Science and is currently working on a Master’s degree in Emergency Management. He also holds a College Educators certification and is a NFPA 1041 III instructor and Adult Educator. He holds numerous Officer, Tech level and Firefighter specialty NFPA standards, Blue Card Command instructor, Flashover Instructor, Live Fire instructor, Incident Command and Incident Management instructor, Transportation of dangerous goods instructor and inspector, CBRNe technician and instructor, automotive mechanic and a Scouts Canada Leader.

He has travelled and delivered talks to county wide conferences, meetings and has delivered training at FDIC Atlantic.

He has sat on many committees including: NFPA 2 Hydrogen Technologies, Canadian National Standards for Radioactive Response, Transportation of Dangerous goods routes establishment, CBRNe Recommended Equipment List selection committee, International Association of Bomb Technicians and the California Air Response Planning Alliance subcommittee.

He has professional affiliations with Fire Department Safety Officers Association (FDSOA), Ontario Association of Fire Training Officers (OAFTO), International Society of Fire Service Instructors (ISFSI) and the IAFF.

In his spare time he travels delivering instruction on many topics to Fire Departments on a no-fee basis to “share” knowledge- hoping to keep firefighters safe through quality training using modern firefighting techniques.  

Dean Colthorp

Dean is the Assistant Deputy Fire Chief with the City of Spruce Grove Alberta with the responsibility of Training and Operations. He began his involvement with the Fire Service in 1987 as a Paid on Call member and later as a career member with the City of Surrey Fire Services. In 1996, Dean had the responsibility of Assistant Chief in West Kelowna British Columbia with the Westside Fire Rescue in charge of Training and Operations. He has since worked with the Fire and Safety Division of the Justice Institute of British Columbia as the Fire Fighter Program Coordinator and later the Division’s Program Director. He spent time with the Langley City Fire Rescue Services as the Assistant Chief in Charge of Training as well as the City of Langley Occupational Health and Safety Officer. He was also the Deputy Fire Chief – Operations and Training with the City of Abbotsford. Dean has a Fire Service Leadership Diploma from the Justice Institute of British Columbia, a Bachelor of General Studies from Simon Fraser University and has an MBA in Public Administration from Columbia Southern University. He also has professional designations of Professional Manager (PMgr), Chief Training Officer (CTO), and Chief Fire Officer (CFO). Is an Emergency Services Advisor with the First Nation’s Emergency Services Society of British Columbia. Dean is also the Past President of the British Columbia Fire Training Officers Association and is a member of the Alberta Fire Chief Association and the Canadian Fire Chief Association.

Thiago John

Fire Officer from the Military Firefighters Corps of the Federal District, stationed in Brasilia (BRAZIL).
Firefighter with 19 years of effective duty service in Brazil and a certified fire intructor at all levels of Brazilian Fire Service.
Passionate about firefighting and an active leader in developing the principles of fire service knowledge and education.
Speaks English, Spanish and Portuguese.

Director At Large

Larry Conley

Having served 24 years (and counting) as a firefighter in the City of St. Louis, Captain Larry Conley has demonstrated an immense array of skills and expertise, by broadening his skill set beyond the norm. Over the years, Larry has developed his leadership and training skills, which has afforded him the opportunity to move into other areas, however still affiliated with Fire Service, as well as to become a published author in industry publications.

As current Director at Large of the International Society of Fire Service Instructors, Larry promotes this organization with pride and conviction. He contributes to the development of the organization’s curriculum (Training Officers’ Desk Reference), and was chosen to be one of 20 presenters of the Principles of Modern Fire Attack curriculum.

Captain Conley also wears the hat of Camp Director for the Missouri Children’s Burn Camp, where he leads, administers and assesses the training of 43 camp counselors. In addition, Larry developed the GLUE (Growing Leadership Using Empowerment) Leadership model which is now used to train the counselors at the Burn Camp. The principles of GLUE, however, transcend all industries, which is a testament to the forward, big-picture thinking that Larry has developed over the years.
Additionally, Captain Conley serves as Chairman and Board Member of several other organizations, pertinent to Fire Service:
• Chairman, Supervisory Committee, St. Louis Firefighter’s Credit Union – performs annual internal audit of accounts while being governed by Rules & Regulations of MoFedCU
• Board Member, St. Louis Firefighter’s Credit Union – as part of this governing body of the CU, has a voice in developing Rules & Regulations pertaining to competitiveness of services, interest rates, etc as well as keeping compliant with Federal Rules & Regulations
• Co-Chairman, Fire Curriculum subcommittee – MCCA put in place to assist in curriculum standardization throughout Mo.
• President, Parkway Gardens Community – Chosen to liaise between tenants and the Alderman, re: city services, safe living, etc…

For more information about the GLUE initiative, please see links below.
• Missouri Children’s Burn Camp – ,
• GLUE –

Gil Osmer

Captain Gil Osmer started his career in Baldwin County Georgia in 1993 as a volunteer firefighter where he found his passion for firefighting. Captain Osmer has been a firefighter since 1996 with the Gwinnet County Fire and Emergency Services. He is currently assigned to their newly constructed training facility in Dacula Georgia, where he oversees new firefighter recruit training as well as field training special projects. Gwinnett County fire department operates with a staff of over 800 firefighters on three 24-hour rotating shifts. They currently have 30 fire stations, with 30 engine companies, 10 truck companies, 27 advanced life support ambulances, 2 manpower squads, haz-mat, swift water rescue, mass casualty unit, and a technical rescue team.

He spent 17 years in field operations rising through the ranks to the level of Captain. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership from Waldorf College, and is currently in the process of obtaining his Master of Arts in Executive Leadership from Liberty University. Captain Osmer is an NPQ Firefighter I, NPQ Firefighter II, Paramedic, EMT, CPR, PHTLS, Fire Officer I, Fire Officer II, Instructor I, Instructor II, Incident Command System 100, 200, 300, 400, 700, 800, Media Management, hazardous Materials Operations, Swift water Technician I.

Captain Osmer also is an Instructor with Georgia Piedmont Technical College where he teaches the fire science program.

Ryan Pietzch

Ryan is the Director of Education and Training for VFIS, a subsidiary of the Glatfelter Insurance Group. His responsibilities include: National coordination and delivery of education and training programs, curriculum development, marketing and information analysis, and consulting for VFIS. He is an active member of many fire service organizations including; IAFC, VCOS, NVFC, ISFSI, CFSI National Advisory Committee, and the NFPA 1400 series and 1000 series Technical Committees. Ryan followed his family to Pennsylvania in 2011 leaving his position as a Career Fire Officer after 18 years of service with the West Des Moines Fire Department, in West Des Moines, Iowa. He started in the fire service in 1990 as a fire explorer, becoming a firefighter, a fire service instructor, a Total Quality Management instructor, and Emergency Medical Technician. Ryan has held the ranks of Volunteer Firefighter, Career Firefighter, Career Fire Lieutenant and is now the Director of Education and Training at VFIS. Ryan brings a unique and fresh view to VFIS. He has extensive fire service and EMS experience and knowledge and strives to provide emergency service personnel with education through training and consulting. He is currently an active Firefighter/ EMT with the Silver Spring Community Fire Company in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. Ryan graduated with honors from Eastern Kentucky University with his Master’s Degree in Safety, Security and Emergency Management. He graduated from the Des Moines Fire Academy and received his Fire Science Certificate from Des Moines Area Community College after completing his Bachelor of Arts degree from Grand View College in Des Moines, Iowa. He continues to conduct training and consulting projects on various emergency service related topics across the United States. Ryan believes that ISFSI has seen great success due to exceptional leadership. Now it is time to take advantage of the recent momentum and take this organization to the next level. Live fire training is extremely important, but is a very small portion of the training that we do every day. I want to help build our resources so that ISFSI member instructors “have the power to transform the lives and wellbeing of fire and EMS providers everywhere”. I have the experience, knowledge and resources available to help make that happen.

Peter Van Dorpe

Peter Van Dorpe is a Fire Chief of the Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District. He recently retired as Director of the Chicago Fire Department’s Training Division after a 33 year career with the CFD. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in the Fire Science Management from Southern Illinois University. He has made presentations on modern fire ground challenges at FDIC, Firehouse Expo, Fire Rescue International and the National Fire Academy. In 2012 he delivered the General Session Keynote at FDIC and addressed the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the “Effectiveness of Furniture Flammability Standards and Flame Retardant Chemicals”.

In addition to his work as a Field instructor for the Illinois Fire Service Institute, he has been a lead instructor for the Chicago Fire Department’s Fire Officer School, and has taught building construction for the fire service through the City Colleges of Chicago. He is a member of the Advisory Board for the Underwriters Laboratories’ Firefighter Safety Research Institute, and lectures throughout the country on the application of the UL/NIST studies.

He has recently participated as a Subject Matter Expert for UL’s research on “Structural Stability of Engineered Lumber In Fire Conditions”, the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s, Evaluating Firefighting Tactics Under Wind Driven Conditions”, the IAFF/NIST “Firefighter Safety and Deployment Study” in high rise buildings, and the NIOSH investigation in the Line of Duty Deaths of two Boston firefighters that occurred on March 26th, 2014. Chief Van Dorpe is the 2016 recipient of the Fire Engineering/ISFSI George D. Post Instructor of the Year award.


Eastern Region Director

Brad French

Brad French is a lieutenant with the Dayton (OH) Fire Department, assigned to a downtown engine company. He is a 16-year member of the fire service, and holds degrees in fire science and fire administration. He is a lead instructor at the DFD Training Center, member of the Board of Directors for the International Society of Fire Service Instructors (ISFSI), and contributing author for Fire Engineering and Firehouse magazines and online content. He is an instructor at FDIC, Firehouse Expo, Firehouse World, and also serves as an instructor in the ISFSI “Principles of Modern Fire Attack” and “Training Officer Credential” programs. Brad is a principal member of the technical committees for NFPA 1700 and NFPA 1402, represents the ISFSI in the NFPA Responder Forum group, and is an adjunct professor in the University of Cincinnati and Sinclair Community College Fire Science programs.

Dominic Orlando

I am a highly motivated and career oriented individual with thirty plus years of experience in the Fire Service. Throughout my career, I have centered my education and training toward the position of Fire Chief. With my extensive experience working within Combination and Municipal Fire Departments coupled with a four-year degree in Business Administration, a two-year degree in Fire Protection Technology and a Master’s in Public Administration, as well as my extensive instructional background and certifications I strongly believe that I possess the skills and knowledge necessary to carry out the duties of a Fire Chief.


Western Region Director

Matt Hoppel

I am a 25-year member of the Emergency Services. I began my career in 1991 dispatching for the fire, ambulance and law enforcement divisions with the City of Laurel. During my employment as a Dispatcher, I volunteered at my local ambulance service as an EMT and as a Volunteer Firefighter for the Laurel Volunteer Fire Department. While patiently waiting for an opportunity to become a career firefighter, an opportunity was presented to me to explore a career in Law Enforcement. I attended the Montana Law Enforcement Academy and began working as a police officer for the Laurel Police Department. After five years working for the Police Department, working my way up to Field Training Office position, my neighboring Billings Fire Department, had career firefighting openings and I decided to pursue my dream. I was hired in January of 1998 an almost 19 years later I am still working for the Billings Fire Department in Billings Montana. I currently hold the position of Training Division Chief/ Training Officer for the department. I have been in that position going on 5 years.

I have been very active in the department and have worked my way trough the department serving in the ranks of Firefighter, Engineer, Captain, and Deputy Fire Marshall. During my tenure in the Fire Marshal’s Office, my love for training and fire education, led me to the task of planning and coordinating all fire prevention and education activities for the City of Billings an its residents. I was also a member of The Billings Fire Department “Clown Team” which was responsible for conduction fire safety presentations in all 26 elementary schools located in the Billings Area on an annual basis.

I am a member of the International Society of Fire Service Instructors and am actively pursuing all activities that can help the mission of the Society. I have attended the ISFSI Principles of Modern Fire Attack classroom, hands-on, and the train the trainer courses. I have also attended the ISFSI Live Fire Fixed Facility Course and just recently completed the Training Officer Credential Course. I am currently enrolled in and seeking the ISFSI Credential in the Live Fire Acquired Structure curriculum. I am very active in our Local IAFF Union as the MDA Coordinator helping coordinate all MDA Fundraising activities and events. I have also served as an MDA Summer Camp Counselor. I am currently an adjunct instructor for the State of Montana Fire Service Training School. I am also currently a member of the Bid Sky Critical Incident Stress Management Team which serves all members of emergency services in the state. I am active member of the Local Emergency Planning Committee for Yellowstone County as well. I currently serve as an active long time member for the Montana State Council of Professional Firefighters Honor Guard.

I am currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Fire Administration with Columbia Southern University.

Doug Kolkman

I joined the fire service in 1983. By 1990 I became interested in instructing and obtain my Fire Instructor certifications during the mid-90’s. I am also certified as Firefighter 2, Fire Officer 2, along with Driver Operator Pumper and Aerial.
I live in Yarmouth, Iowa and a member of the Yarmouth Fire Department since 2000. I am employed at Henry County Health Center in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa for the past 5 years and a farm hand at our family horse farm during much of the life. I live on the actual Kolkman farm with my 3 wonderful dogs.
I am currently the President of the Iowa Society of Fire Service Instructors, Chapter 2 of the International Society of Fire Service Instructors and work closely with ISFSI to main an active Iowa chapter. I hold several other professional memberships which includes membership in the International Society of Fire Service Instructor and the Iowa Firefighters Association. I have presented various types of professional development classes for instructors at both regional and state fire schools and conferences across Iowa. Currently my time on the administrative board on the Iowa Society of Fire Service Instructors we successful developed a fire instructor mentoring program that will be used to assist new instructors to avoid instructional pitfalls.

James Lannan

James is a proud member of the Western Taney County Fire Protection District where he serves as the Assistant Chief of Training. In addition to his full-time fire career he also is an adjunct instructor for a local universities fire science program. The fire service adopted him at the ripe age of three years old when he went to his first fire department open house, sat in a lime green ladder truck and fell in love. He has progressed through the fire service ranks both career and volunteer all while continuing his educational career; holding an Associate’s degree in Paramedicine, Bachelors in Fire Administration, and now the start of a Masters in Fire and Emergency Services Administration. He has recently been accepted into the NFA Executive Fire Officer Program and received my ISFSI Training Officer Credential.
The Fire Service has been his passion throughout life and in recent years found his niche in training. James enjoys all aspects of training from doing drill to writing courses and everything in between. He found the ISFSI a few years ago and jumped in head first, currently serving as the Chairperson of the Print Development Committee.
He is happily married to my best friend and a humble dad of two great boys, ages eight and ten that keep him on his toes constantly. Outside of the fire service James enjoys working on his house, being involved in church, and spending time with family.

James Silvernail

Jim Silvernail is the Fire Chief of the Kirkwood Fire Department of St. Louis County, MO and is international accredited as a “Chief Fire Officer” (CPSE). He is the author of Suburban Fire Tactics (Fire Engineering Books and Videos, 2013) and the co-author of Suburban Fire Tactics from the Right Seat video (Fire Engineering Books and Videos, 2016). He has been published in Fire Engineering Magazine five times since 2011. Jim has over 19 years of operational experience and is a lead instructor at the St. Louis County Fire Academy, specializing in truck company operations. He is a member of MO-TF 1 (a FEMA Urban Search & Rescue team), serving as a Planning Team Manager.

Jim is currently the incumbent Western Regional Director for the ISFSI. He has been instrumental in planning and oversight in the society’s nationally renowned projects with a perfect board attendance record. Jim has been instrumental in the society’s Principles of Modern Fire Attack, both as a classroom and hands-on instructor and as a content developer for the PMFA video production. He was the principle writer and producer of the “Rescue” segment of version 2 of the PMFA video series. In addition to reviewing content for the ISFSI “Academy” newsletter, Chief Silvernail was also a contributing developer to the Training Officer Credentialing Program. He is a regular attendee of the Fall Conference, instructing in 2014 in Columbus, OH.

“In the past two years a Board Member, I have seen the ISFSI produce high quality, nationally recognized programs to benefit the fire service instructor. I have also witnessed the society become a more influential presence within the industry. My goal is to continue to produce beneficial programs and to continue to improve the society’s position and influence while promoting advantageous relationships. The society’s membership is increasing due to out marketing and advancement as an industry leader. Our job as an organization is to have a congressional voice, have a presence with the industry publishers and technical committees, and to produce real content that benefits the fire service instructor. With my influence in the industry, current relationships, and existent program knowledge, I intend to make this happen.”

Chief Silvernail’s Formal education includes: an AAS in Fire Protection Technology, a BA in Business Administration, and an MS in Human Resource Management. He is a workshop instructor at the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC)(2011-2016) and presents at various regional deliveries. Chief Silvernail is a principle member of the NFPA technical committee 1710.